Workout Tip: Roll out!

Thank you @Pinterest for my daily dose of inspiration yet again. 🙂 I came across this picture coincidentally enough after visiting our gym here at the office to do a little rolling out.  Getting back into the swing of heavy lifting, I’m feeling some soreness throughout my hips, butt, thighs, and traps. Rolling out is the best thing (besides yoga) that I have ever found to help break up that lactic acid build up.

So today’s tip is to get yourself a foam roller & tennis or lacrosse ball to keep with you at home or at the office to roll out when you have a few extra minutes. Today I popped down to the gym right after lunch and spent about 15 minutes just rolling around. It has done wonders for my afternoon productivity. Listen to your body…..it always tells you what you need.

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Paleo Challenge Day 42

 

There are so many things that I’ve learned in just a little over a month on the paleo challenge. The last two weeks have been great for me. People are starting to notice that I look leaner – many of whom know that I’ve been doing the challenge, so they know it has a lot to do with the way that I’m eating. That makes me more excited than anything. I know that when I’ve seen people who look lean or healthy, I wonder what their secret is. Are they just naturally that way? Do they work out for hours on end every day? Do they ever eat junk food? I can honestly say that the results I’ve had come from no secret formula – just strict paleo eating and regular exercise. It can be that simple.

 

I’ve been thinking more and more about lifestyle maintenance and balance. I do believe that the most important thing in daily living is a life that is balanced – meaning there isn’t just one thing in life that is your entire life. I think American culture teaches us to often be laser-focused on a goal and work only to achieve that goal in as little time as possible. Not that there’s anything wrong with having goals and working toward them. However, working just to achieve a goal and not taking in everything that happens along the way including changing direction somewhere, could mean missing out on something great.

 

Along with CrossFit and the many outdoor activities I enjoy, I have been practicing yoga since I was 12 years old. Only when I reached my 20s did I actually receive in-depth personal instruction, but the years of practice before then helped me to understand some of the central values of yoga practice. I know a lot of people hear the word “yoga” and instantly think of granola people in hemp sandals and use words like “man” and “dude” a lot. I am sometimes mistaken as a “tree hugger” because of my yoga-practicing-outdoor-loving ways. But that’s okay, because I love so many things about yoga. Yoga teaches you to be present, to release yourself from judgment especially self-judgment, to face challenges bravely because they are essential to life, to always strive for balance, and to not take yourself too seriously (definitely good to smile during yoga practice).

 

The balance I feel in my life at the moment comes from many things – but especially through the things I’ve learned from yoga, CrossFit, and a paleo lifestyle. I feel so very blessed and full and look forward to many more things later in life that may come my way.

Paleo Challenge Day 31

Today marks a full month into the challenge. I’m feeling so good at this point. I wake up between 6:00-6:30 every morning including weekends, and I have enough energy to work or play all day. People everywhere have been asking me how the “paleo thing” is going, and I love it!  That’s exactly what I was hoping for by blogging my way through the challenge. I know how the power of a community can change you and keep you accountable everywhere you go.  So thank you to everyone who has been reading and asking me about it!

For the most part, I’m not missing many of the old foods I used to eat, except for all of the delicious cold summer treats like ice cream. But I think I have to give more credit to the community I’m part of than my own will power. Not only has social media & the blogosphere helped keep me motivated, but the community at CrossFit Ktown is unlike any other. Every time I step into the gym, I’m greeted with happy, smiling faces and encouraging words. I workout with coaches who not only teach this lifestyle, but live it themselves. I’m taking advice on how to eat better paleo meals from someone (rather, a group) who is eating that way too.  It doesn’t feel weird inside the walls of CFKT like it does sometimes when I get that lovely “you’re crazy” look quickly followed by, “What?? You don’t eat any bread?”

I think I’ve heard the phrases, “Oh, I could never do that,” or “There’s no way I could give up bread, cheese, or sugar,” about 100 times. Then today I hopped on over to Mark’s Daily Apple blog. The post is about “The Blame Game” and how easily we opt ourselves out of changing because it’d be too hard. The post starts with an insightful quote,

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

Albert Ellis, psychologist

I found this post particularly inspiring today because I’ve used every excuse in the book to talk my way out of making a real change at different points in my life.  I’m sure I’ve missed out on many really good things because the cost of changing was too high. But I realize now that when you’ve got a community of people behind you who care about you, it makes a world of difference. It doesn’t seem so difficult anymore.

Paleo Challenge Day 15

We’re now a full two weeks into the challenge. I honestly thought this was going to be so much harder than it has been. This past week, an interesting thing happened that has made me fall in love with paleo all over again. On Wednesday I woke up and wasn’t really hungry, so I decided to skip breakfast. I normally have to eat something of substance by 10am or I become ravenous. However, this did not happen, nor did I feel overly hungry at lunch. I ate a small portion of grilled chicken and asparagus, a much smaller portion than my usual. I was surprised to be full on such a small amount and stayed full until dinner where I had another small portion of chicken fajitas (no tortillas of course). I started wondering if there was something up as I still didn’t have a huge appetite throughout the next day either. I always notice when anything seems different, so I kept it in the back of my mind.

On Thursday, I took my paleo food journal into the gym to get checked by one of the coaches (we have to have it signed every week to be in the challenge).  Jessie noticed where I wrote down “not much of an appetite today” and asked me about it. I think her words were more like, “So you haven’t been feeling as hungry this week?” I was overjoyed she asked me because I had noticed a difference. So I replied, “Yea, is that normal?” She immediately shook her head emphatically up and down explaining that with paleo, once you begin controlling your insulin you don’t have those huge jumps and crashes with your blood sugar. You are satiated for longer when you are eating high quality foods low on the glycemic index. You actually are full, but a lot of times, simple carbs can make you still feel hungry. It’s the same effect of eating a whole box of cereal and still feeling hungry an hour later. Eating paleo makes you not want to over eat or see the need in over eating. The fullness is a different type of full. You start to eat to fuel your body rather than treat your mind.

This fundamental switch in my approach to food began showing me how some of my connections to food were not in my best interest. Relying on food to fill a certain part of your day or relying on it to satisfy you gives food more weight and control than it should have.  I’ve learned that you do not have to be a slave to food or food cravings. People ask me all the time if eating paleo is hard and if I ever have cravings for things. I can honestly say that if I do, it’s rare and often not in the ways it used to be.  I eat food that makes me feel good, and I’ve become addicted to it. Another added bonus is that in two weeks, I have somehow misplaced 5 lbs. of body weight. Well, I haven’t been able to locate it, but I’m guessing it’s back there with all the breads, sugars, and everything else I used to eat. 🙂

Paleo Challenge Day 8

Today marks 1 full week of the Paleo Challenge. That’s 7 days of “meat and vegetables, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.” I’m feeling seriously awesome at this point. I have tremendous amounts of energy, much more than I’ve had in a while. I went to the gym 3 times this past week and then ran a “fast” (well, fast for me) mile on Sunday. I’m starting to crave working out in any way, shape, or form. I think I’m addicted to the endorphins.

So far, eating has been good, and I’ve only craved something non-paleo this past Saturday when I was in Asheville. There’s a ridiculously good dessert shop called the French Broad Chocolate Lounge that is life changing it’s so good. However, I just walked right on by, begrudgingly, but at least I walked by.

I have to say that this has been the least stressful diet challenge I’ve undertaken simply because of the meal planning I do now. I’ve been spending a little time one or two evenings a week to look up new recipes, make out shopping lists, and plan all of my meals for the week. I just created a table in a Word Doc with the days of the week and breakfast, lunch, and dinner columns. I’m not making every single meal I eat so I’ve also been allotting for business lunches or dinners that I’ll likely eat out.

I made out a shopping list earlier last week, so when I got back in from Asheville on Sunday, all I had to do was grab my list and head to EarthFare. No thinking involved. It was blissful. I’ve started a new tradition of spending my Sunday afternoons cooking. Yesterday I made up some tuna salad and omelet muffins for the week. Then I also washed some romaine lettuce and chopped some veggies to put in Tupperware so I can just grab throughout the week. This is such a tremendous time saver through the week when I need to whip up some dinner after a long day.

I’m already starting to feel like this is a lifestyle I can maintain and that feels really good.

Paleo Challenge Day 1

CrossFit Ktown has been holding Paleo Challenges for the past few years. The before & after pictures alone are enough to sell this challenge to anyone. So this time around, I decided to take them up on the challenge. I am now officially in this 10-week “race to get fit” by eating a paleo diet and CrossFitting regularly.

So more on the challenge…for 10 weeks each participant has to keep a food log of what they eat (not how much). We record what we eat, any supplements we take, and how we feel overall particularly with regards to sleep and workout performance. We take before & after pictures which are the sole basis for judging. The coaches pick the top 5 male and female participants, then the participants actually vote on the winner from those top 5. Winner gets 3 free months of unlimited gym time – pretty sweet deal.

I have to say that I am so excited about the challenge, I’m even shocking myself. This weekend I spent a lot of my time looking up paleo recipes to put in my new cookbook, making out menus & shopping lists, scouring Wal-Mart for lots-o-tupperware, and trying out a few new recipes. I can already say that this will be the best tasting diet challenge ever. Just this weekend, I have made an abundance of delicious foods including a spicy chicken salad with bacon, homemade mayo & tuna salad, omelet muffins with bacon & salsa, green smoothies, and the perfect paleo margarita. (Yes! There’s a margarita for that!)

I think the challenge will be a great way for me to really stick to a 100% paleo diet even if just for the reason of seeing how different I feel versus now. I actually started on Saturday with 100% paleo, and I’m already feeling awesome. I plan to post on my progress just to see where this challenge will take me, so stay tuned!

My 2011 New Year’s Resolution List

I’m not one for making New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I think I will partake in this yearly ritual. Mainly because I want to do as much as I can to make myself adhere to the things that bring balance in my life. As the years go by, I feel as though I get busier each year, sometimes at a supersonic pace over the last. This year in particular, each passing month brought with it more items to add to my “to do” list rather than take them off. The beginning of a new year does seem to be the best time to change something in your life. Well, for this year, the name of the game for me is Accountability. I want to well document this year so that by December, I know what I’ve accomplished. So here goes to a 2011 filled with these 5 things:

1. Strict Paleo: A lot of times I let myself cheat here and there. Lately, the excuses are outweighing the rules. I don’t want to rationalize exceptions as much as I have been. Therefore, kicking off the year with #glutenfreejanuary, there will be no grains, legumes, sugar, or dairy in my diet. Most importantly – NO POTATOES! For some reason, I’m obsessed with them, and I must end this relationship now before it gets out of control.

2. Daily entries in my Food Journal: I stopped this a couple months ago because I hated staring at “Friday, October ___: like half a pan of toll house cookies.” If I don’t want to write it down, I’m not going to eat it!

3. CrossFit 3 days/wk, Yoga 1-2 days/wk: For any of you CrossFitters out there, you know how intense some of our workouts can be. Lately I have been at the gym fewer days a week which equates to lots-o-soreness. However, good stretching can help you get back to the gym functioning at your normal level. I’m bringing back the yoga!

4. Make a list EVERY DAY and track every task completed: Do you ever find yourself leaving work, exhausted, and yet you feel like you didn’t get things done that you really wanted to? With any job, you’re going to have things that come up, things you must deal with, and then those 1 hour scheduled meetings easily turn to 3 and you have to dump something else off your plate for the day. Most days, if I actually have the act of writing down where I am in projects and crossing off tasks as I go, I have a much better feeling of “where the day went.”

5. Reading: I subscribe to I-don’t-know how many blogs and have a stack of a least a dozen books waiting on me at my home office. Time to start cracking. Because as Ricky Bobby says, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

So there’s my list of 5, and I hope to keep regular blog posts with updates on my progress. This is my “little experiment” for the year. I’m curious, how many of you actually set New Year’s Resolutions and what do you do to keep yourself motivated? I’m always looking for tips and tricks. Well, hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!